Rex du Poitou breeders abide by a “breeding farm charter” (available here) while an independent body checks if this charter is followed and respected.
All the ingredients of artisan production methods are here:
- Human-sized breeding farms,
- Slow growth process of animals
- Animals originating from the Pays d’Aunis
- Females are put in specific cages with a place to drink, rest and milk their cubs.
This is far from industrial-scale breeding. Moreover, breeders do not strive for productivity as their main purpose is the well-being of their rabbits and is about respecting a traditional know-how.
All these details allow breeders to rediscover an essential feature: the specific relationship between the animal and its breeder.
Weaning is made naturally, when young rabbits can eat by themselves. Then, they grow together until their sexual maturity. Then, to respect their need for peace and quite, all the animals are placed in individual cages which allow them to see, smell and hear other rabbits close to them. Thus, each animal is sheltered from dominance phenomena and can therefore feed, rest and live in their own rhythm.
The age of slaughter is determined by considering optimal organoleptic and dietary qualities. The slow growth of Rex du Poitou is achieved thanks to a suitable diet which allow them to reach an approximate weight of 2.5kg. The frame (1.5kg) offers rounded muscle masses. The flesh possesses ideal features in terms of cohesion, firmness when cooked and juiciness.
“Lapin de France” (rabbit of France)
This logo is part of a confidence pact between the stakeholders of the French stock farmers united within Viandes de France. As Rex du Poitou breeders, this is why we are proud to be able to put this logo on our labels. This logo was delivered to us because we respect the demands of the mission statement for traceability and the observation of best practices.
For consumers, it is a guarantee that controls are being performed by external bodies as well as that they will be consuming premium products representing faithfully French know-how.
To choose Viandes de France means:
- Meat and products from animals born, bred, killed, cut and transformed in France.
- Production methods that are respectful of the environment and of the well-being of animals.
- Very strict health regulations and total traceability.
- Rigorous checks
- Respect for the French labour legislation which protects employees and guarantees a minimum wage.
The Collège Culinaire de France recognises Rex du Poitou
Founded by 15 French chefs recognised internationally, the Collège Culinaire de France is on a mission to promote quality catering in France and beyond. It fosters the influence of French’s gastronomical culture and economy in their home country and elsewhere in the world.
The Collège Culinaire de France’s missions are diverse:
- fostering the diversity and wealth of French local products,
- putting well bred, well cultivated, quality products as well as artisan methods into light
- showcasing passionate artisans and producers,
- pointing out specific know-hows,
- promoting an eco-conscious agriculture.
Being selected by the Collège Culinaire de France is a source of recognition and pride. Our Rex du Poitou breeders are honored by this distinction which values our daily work and commitment.
ORYLAG’s breeding farm charter A word from the breeders
1. The first condition to breeding success is the well-being of Orylags
Being an Orylag® breeder means conducting a complete and traditional breeding process with a special focus on quality, allowing a daily, individual monitoring of each animal. Monitoring animals in such a way is essential to get exceptional flesh and hides. Being an Orylag® breeder means striving for excellence, which allows us to envision any source of progress, so that the daily life of our animals is both secure and calm. It also means creating living spaces three times bigger than in conventional breeding farms, broadcasting a soothing musical atmosphere, forbidding any kind of abuse and watching out for, among other things, that no animal suffers from hunger or thirst in any way.
2. Responsible breeding through a global process and traceability
Being an Orylag® breeder means being responsible and committing to control each step of the process, from birth to marketing flesh and hides to guarantee flawless traceability for the consumer. Every intervention on the animals is recorded on the breeding farm’s register to ensure that our endeavour remains impeccable.
To ensure this traceability and to guarantee that our values are respected, we built our own abattoir complying with European standards. It is the only facility authorized to sell Orylag flesh under the trademarks Rex du Poitou and Le lapin charentais. Each employee of the abattoir is trained to take into account the well-being of animals – the training being validated by a certificate of competence.
Our facility is located at the heart of our breeding farms so that the duration of animal transport never exceeds two hours.
3. Human-sized breeding farms
A maximum of 400 reproductive females per breeding farm. This number might seem low, but it’s the essential condition that allows us to foster the breeder-animal relationship. This creates an environment that supports exceptional observation, quality and comfort for animals and breeders. The average litter comprises 6 or 7 kits. Nursing is checked daily to ensure the proper growth of each kit, and to avoid exhaustion for the mother.
4. Natural and GMO-free food
Being an Orylag® breeder means favouring organic and sustainable agriculture. The food we give to our Orylags is traced, guaranteed GMO-free and particularly balanced in terms of vitamins and minerals. We keep a flock sheet which specifies the types of food used and the quantities distributed. The individual feeders are installed to avoid any contact between food and litter, while access to water is free and permanent. The reproductive females and their kits are fed ad libitum. Starting on week 12, portions are adapted to the needs of the animals in order to respect their natural growth.
5. Immaculate hygiene and careful observation to limit medication are key for our Orylags’ health
Being an Orylag® breeder means devoting a lot of our time to our breeding farms.
We invested in high-performance systems for the measure and control of environmental data, as we know this beneficially impacts animal health. This upstream work considerably decreases the use of antibiotic treatments – which we mostly substitute with herbal medicine.
However, we vaccinate all our Orylags against the HDV virus and against myxomatosis by using products controlled by the veterinarian in charge of overseeing the cooperative.
We pay particular attention to our entrance air locks. Clean and welcoming, they are equipped with boot baths, a water source and a cabinet dedicated to veterinary products. Before any visit, we wash and disinfect our hands, and we put on cloths and shoes dedicated to the breeding farm. Additionally, the surroundings of the breeding farms are clean and well maintained. The effluent storage tanks are secured and comply with regulations. For ecological reasons, these effluents are recycled as an organic fertilizer for agriculture.
6. We know how to take our time
Being an Orylag breeder is listening to nature and respect the natural growth of our animals. This natural growth is 17 to 21 weeks long, whereas it is shortened to 10 to 11 weeks in conventional breeding conditions. The breeding duration, along with the other commitments of the breeders, create a very tender and tasty flesh as well as exceptional hides. The transformation of the whole animal is part of our philosophy.
7. Breeding Orylags® is more than a job, it’s a passion
Being an Orylag® breeder means choosing an unusual sector in which excellence is paramount. Being an Orylag® breeder means providing healthy and nutritious flesh to those who care about what they eat. Being an Orylag® breeder means belonging to a united group of breeders joined within a cooperative in which everyone feeds on others’ successes. Being an Orylag® breeder means complying with a number of rigorous health safety controls certified by an independent body, but it also means ambitioning to always go one step further for the well-being of the animals and of the breeder – because both are important.
The breeders of the Orylag® cooperative